Halloween is the I-can-get-away-with-anything time of the year. Department stores get away with selling hundreds and thousands of items that can be classified as over-priced “spooky” crap, children get away with eating a shit load of candy, and adults often try to get away with costumes that are outright offensive and racist because, you know, “it’s just a costume.”
Sorry to burst your bubble Becky, but that ensemble that you can take off after one night is actually somebody’s reality. Cultural appropriation is not okay. Feeding into stereotypes is not okay. Making a “funny joke” out of another person’s tragic situation is not okay.
So, here’s a list of costumes you should definitely avoid this Halloween if you don’t want to spend November explaining that you “didn’t intend on offending anyone.”
1. The Israeli Defense Force Soldier Costume – for kids.
Please refrain from dressing your child up as a soldier that represents a group responsible for the unjustified arrests and murders of thousands of innocent children.
2. The “Sexy” Ebola Containment Suit
Over 4000 people have died from Ebola, including more than 200 healthcare workers. There’s nothing sexy about that.
3. Arab Snake Charmer Costume
If you know anything about Snake Charmers, you would know that they are mostly found in South Asia, not the Arab world and they definitely do not look like that. Don’t even try to please your fantasies of the exotic, snake-charming Arab woman because they just don’t exist.
4. “Indian” Warrior Costume
Okay, they’re not “Indians” for God’s sake! The Indigenous groups that do exist in North America today do not walk around with axes. They do not live in the past. Actually, they’re regular people just like you and me. You also have no right to wear a group’s traditional and meaningful clothing as a costume – especially clothing that they were punished for by your ancestors.
5. Anna Rexia
Anorexia is the most common cause of death among young women ages 15-24. Keep that in mind before you put on this extremely insensitive costume.
6. Taliban/suicide bomber costume
Literally thousands of innocent people have become victims of suicide bombings all over the world. Respect their lives. Also respect 99% of the Muslim population that doesn’t look like that. Costumes like this perpetuate nothing but Islamophobic stereotypes.
7. ANY blackface costume
Because you can’t pretend to be a whole race for a single day and then use your privilege to wash the color off and send the institutionalized racism black people have to deal with every day down the drain, too.
8. Cecil the Lion’s killer’s costume
Do I really have to explain why you shouldn’t be walking around with a beloved lion’s head and blood on your shirt while posing a “thumbs up” sign?
Sorry, but you can’t pretend to be a stereotypical Mexican when a highly supported candidate for the presidential elections of the U.S is threatening to deport all Mexican immigrants and build a wall. Sugar skull costumes? Also offensive to the Mexican heritage. Stop it.
So, before you go out this Halloween for trick or treating or a party, have another look at your costume in the mirror and make sure that it’s not going to require an explanation. There are so many different costumes that won’t make you look like a culturally insensitive jerk. Try one of those. Or you know, don’t. You’re probably too old for Halloween anyway.
Written by Khalood Kibria